the most beautiful thing: grapefruit
This afternoon on my usual pop over to our local Whole Foods Market, I snagged a big beautiful organic red grapefruit. I love grapefruit. I love the texture, the taste, and the weight of them. Most of all, I love the smell. In fact, every time I see a grapefruit, I am reminded of a cold winter afternoon many years ago when that smell was such a beautiful thing to me, it made me cry.
I was doing a dathun (month-long meditation retreat) up at Shambhala Mountain Center, a buddhist retreat center in northern Colorado, and was about half-way through. We had been participating in long days of silence, sitting about eight-hours for each of them, eating in the contemplative Zen style of Oryoki, and all in all losing our minds while our hearts burst open in the silence of it. Well, I can only speak for myself. I was losing my mind. I was also finding it. And on the day in question, I was finding it in the tender underbelly of my heart.
I remember everything looked so crisp, so fresh, so full of love. I arrived at the office where I was meeting my personal meditation instructor and marveled at the over-flowing fruit bowl. I lifted a large grapefruit and felt the reassuring weight of it in my palm. Nestled on the couch in front of a large fireplace waiting for my turn to talk about my meditation, I dug a few fingernails into the skin and brought it to my nose. I was intoxicated. I was overcome. I was instantly crying. That smell was so beautiful, it tipped all the raw emotion and gratitude I had welling up in me over the edge. I can’t remember if I actually ate it or just smelled it forever. I was so moved. And I was incredibly happy.
At lunch, after warm spinach, brown rice and tandoor-spiced chicken, I ate half of my lunchtime-shopping prize. My mind is not nearly as prepared today to experience the profound beauty of such a simple thing, but I am ever-thankful for the memory that stills my mind and taps my heart whenever I see or smell a grapefruit. Beautiful.